Promenade review

by on February 23, 2024
Release Date

February 23, 2024


When I’m exploring a video game world, there’s not much I enjoy more than collecting stuff. Ever since I first started gathering as many stars as possible in Super Mario 64, I’ve become obsessed with finding all those important shiny bits and bobs that help me on my gaming adventures. Not all collectables are created equal, but for me, the perfect example of the collectable being used right comes from the moons of Super Mario Odyssey. Sometimes hidden just out of view, sometimes hidden behind a tricky platforming puzzle, but always fun to collect. The reason I’m talking about these wonderful collectables is because Promenade is sort of like a 2d version of Super Mario Odyssey when it comes to collectables, and as such is absolutely brilliant.

In Promenade you play as Nemo, a colourful little dude who starts the game by falling into some water and drowning. Thankfully a tiny octopus drags Nemo out of the water and helps him recover. After this, the two start to build a life and home together, before deciding to go off on an adventure. It turns out there’s plenty of trouble out in the world waiting for them, as Nemo collapses on arriving to the hub world “The Great Elevator”. As sinister purple smoke pours out of Nemo’s body, a weird evil doppelganger is formed and starts causing chaos (which mainly consists of taking the cogs out of the lift so you can’t use it). All this narrative is told with very few words, and before you know it you’ll be collecting bits of cogs so you can ride the elevator upwards to whatever waits above.

Controlling Nemo is fairly simple, but he does have quite the selection of tricks up his sleeve. It might seem initially like all you can really do as Nemo is a single floaty jump, but thanks to your octopus buddy you can also grab enemies and launch them under you to double jump (Klonoa style). Alongside this handy ability, you can also crouch to do a bigger jump and roll to go fast and get across gaps. Movement is really fluid thanks to this selection of skills, which is fortunate when you need to navigate a tricky obstacle course or win a race with a penguin.

A screenshot of Promenade

Each world of Promenade contains a whole list of cog pieces to find, and once you find the journal page of the world you’re in you’ll gain access to it. This handy checklist contains little hints of how you obtain specific cogs. Sometimes there’s a reference to a hidden room, or an instruction to bring a specific food to a character in the world. It’s up to you to look in every nook and cranny and find the pieces though, and obtaining them isn’t always easy.

Promenade is a deceptively tricky game, especially when you’re tasked with beating an obstacle course trial behind a golden door. Most of these are based on a specific mechanic, like grappling up monkeys or rolling past spikes. They also all feature two cog pieces, one for beating them and another for doing it again but with a strict time limit. As a fan of platforming I was in heaven every time I found one of these trials, but don’t go expecting to breeze through these deadly obstacle courses.

Not all cogs require platforming precision to obtain them. Some cogs require you to help a painter by throwing the colours he wants on his canvas, there are puzzle pieces that need to be matched to the background of the world you’re in, and there are even arcade games to play inspired by the classics like Pong and Space Invaders. Variety is the name of the game in Promenade, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

A screenshot of Promenade

As you play through Promenade you’ll also gain access to a few extra moves that help you get around. The first of these is the ability to grapple on hooks that you’ll find in the world, which is ridiculously handy. Often these powers will help you in previous worlds too, and occasionally even trivialise some of the trickier to reach cog pieces. It can be a little frustrating trying to collect pieces you can’t get without new gear though, especially because there’s such a limited amount of these upgrades which means you never really know you’re missing one.

There are so many delightful elements of Promenade that just made me grin as I played. The selection of worlds is fantastic, with everything from sunny beaches to space expeditions represented in the themed areas. There are also wonderfully designed boss fights, where you’ll need to use all your tools to avoid deadly attacks and find projectiles to chuck at the big bad of the moment. So much of Promenade is a joy to play and varied enough that you never get bored of it, and it’s hard to ask for more than that.

As much as I love Promenade though, it does have a couple of small issues that I didn’t appreciate having to deal with. One of these is the fact that it’s hard to differentiate cog pieces you haven’t found yet from those you’ve previously collected, as they look almost identical visually. When you go back to an incomplete level this means accidentally collecting loads of things you don’t need to, and just making them a different colour would solve this issue entirely. The ending sequence also goes on for a little bit too long, and the final boss was a little too frustrating for my liking. These are all tiny issues really, but in a game as good as Promenade they’re really noticeable.

Promenade takes everything I love about collectathon 3d platformers and puts it in a delightful 2d package. Exploring the themed worlds for cog pieces is pure gaming joy, and the sheer variety of ways to get these shiny doodads is wonderful. Fans of platformers will absolutely adore Promenade, and will likely struggle to put it down until every cog piece is collected.


A joyous 2d collectathon platformer
Loads of variety
Moving Nemo around is a delight
Some really cool themed worlds


It isn't always obvious you need an upgrade to collect certain cog pieces
Hard to tell if you already collected a cog piece
Ending sequence isn't great

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Promenade is the 2d version of those classic 3d collectathon platformers we all love, and the sheer variety of the game is incredible.